The Debian installer could be a lot quicker. When we install more than 2000 packages in Skolelinux / Debian Edu using tasksel in the installer, unpacking the binary packages take forever. A part of the slow I/O issue was discussed in bug #613428 about too much file system sync-ing done by dpkg, which is the package responsible for unpacking the binary packages. Other parts (like code executed by postinst scripts) might also sync to disk during installation. All this sync-ing to disk do not really make sense to me. If the machine crash half-way through, I start over, I do not try to salvage the half installed system. So the failure sync-ing is supposed to protect against, hardware or system crash, is not really relevant while the installer is running.
As you can expect, there are a ton of free NAS (network attached storage) projects and solutions on Linux (and beyond), but there is always room for one more. OpenMediaVault packs quite a few features and users will most likely find all the options that they will ever need.
The OpenMediaVault might have a round and neat version number, but the project has been around for a few years now and it's made by Volker Theile, a former member of FreeNAS, which is another very famous NAS solution.
As a parallel approach, we started to implement a suggestion from Linus Torvalds and a few others. Instead of trying to fix all upstream, where we can, we tried to update clang to improve the gcc compatibility.
gcc has many flags to disable or enable optimizations. Some of them are legacy, others have no sense in clang, etc. Instead of failing in clang with an error, we create a new category of warnings (showing optimization flag '%0' is not supported) and moved all relevant flags into it. Some examples, r212805, r213365, r214906 or r214907
When we setup Freexian’s offer to bring together funding from multiple companies in order to sponsor the work of multiple developers on Debian LTS, one of the rules that I imposed is that all paid contributors must provide a public monthly report of their paid work.
While the LTS project officially started in June, the first month where contributors were actually paid has been July. Freexian sponsored Thorsten Alteholz and Holger Levsen for 10.5 hours each in July and for 16.5 hours each in August. Here are their reports:
Thorsten Alteholz: July / August
Holger Levsen: July / August
Phoronix reader Claudio Ferreira wrote in to share a very large infographic he's made about Debian. The infographic is the result of his lecture on the Debian project and it tries to address the public difficulty in fully understanding all of the work. Covered in the "Understanding Debian" infographic is everything from its various repositories to looking at the developer count to getting involved and the yearly Debian conferences and releases.
The Free Software Foundation (FSF) and the Debian project today
announced cooperation to expand and enhance h-node , a database to
help users learn and share information about computers that work with
free software operating systems.
While other databases list hardware that is technically compatible with
GNU/Linux, h-node lists hardware as compatible only if it does not
require any proprietary software or firmware. Information about hardware
that flunks this test is also included, so users know what to avoid. The
database lists individual components, like wifi and video cards, as well
as complete notebook systems.
Since its introduction, PPA’s are exclusively connected to Ubuntu and its derivatives (Mint, Elementary, etc …). But over time, a number of interesting projects appeared whose whole development is happening inside of PPA’s. To name few, I’m talking about TLP, Geary, Oracle Java Installer, Elementary OS and etc … Some of these projects are in WNPP without much happening for a long time, i.e: TLP
One option was to repackage these packages and then have them uploaded to Debian, or just go rogue and install them directly from its PPA’s. Title of this post might hint which path I took.
It turns out that I'm not the only one who thought about this approach, which has been named "debops". The same day that my talk was announced on the DebConf website, someone emailed me saying that he had instituted the exact same rules at his company, which operates a large Django-based web application in the US and Russia. It was pretty impressive to read about a real business coming to the same conclusions and using the same approach (i.e. system libraries, deployment packages) as Libravatar.
Regardless of this though, I think there is a class of applications that are particularly well-suited for the approach we've just described. If a web application is not your full-time job and you want to minimize the amount of work required to keep it running, then it's a good investment to restrict your options and leverage the work of the Debian community to simplify your maintenance burden.
The second criterion I would look at is framework maturity. Given the 2-3 year release cycle of stable distributions, this approach is more likely to work with a mature framework like Django. After all, you probably wouldn't compile Apache from source, but until recently building Node.js from source was the preferred option as it was changing so quickly.
While it goes against conventional wisdom, relying on system libraries is a sustainable approach you should at least consider in your next project. After all, there is a real cost in bundling and keeping up with external dependencies.